Millions of South African taxpayers will soon have to turn their attention to requesting their income tax return forms from South African Revenue Services and once these are received, completing and submitting them when the new 2011 tax season filing season for individuals opens on 1 July.

Once again SARS is encouraging individual taxpayers to submit their returns electronically by offering taxpayers using eFiling an additional two months to submit. The submission period for manual or posted returns is from 1 July to 30 September, and eFiling submissions will be accepted from 1 July to 25 November.
Grant Lloyd, MD of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group, says that in the tax season for employers that ended on 3 June, statistics released by SARS showed a new record number of 235 882 employers had filed their annual reconciliation declarations within the deadline, a significant increase compared with last year’s 212 969 employers.
“SARS also revealed that employer declarations this year were accompanied by more than 14,8-million IRP5 certificates containing important information on employees. These IRP5 certificates are critical as they are used to pre-populate individual income tax returns which need to be submitted during the soon-to-start tax season for individuals.”
Lloyd adds that the success of the employer filing season showed that the effort SARS has made to streamline and simplify the tax return process is making steady progress towards achieving the objective of making the entire procedure more user-friendly and less daunting for both employers and individual taxpayers.
“There is also every encouragement for individual taxpayers to submit their returns electronically as not only do they have more time, they will also find the assessment process more efficient and quicker,” says Lloyd.
Employers who have not yet filed their reconciliations need to make  a dedicated effort to do so as quickly as possible, as they could incur an “administrative penalty” equal to 10% of the total PAYE paid during the period of non-compliance.
The deadline for electronic submission of annual returns by provisional taxpayers is 31 January 2012.